On a visit to Athy, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has today (Monday 13th November) reaffirmed the Government’s strong commitment to Athy’s Southern Distributor Route. He was speaking in Athy where he was invited to view progress on the road project by Fine Gael Party Chairman and local Kildare South TD Martin Heydon.

Speaking in Athy, The Taoiseach said “I’m delighted to be here in Athy today and to receive an update on the Athy Southern Distributor Route Project. I am well aware from Deputy Heydon how this road is so badly needed and I was determined as Minister for Transport to progress it in 2014 so that Kildare County Council could apply for planning permission. Now that planning permission has been secured, I wish to reaffirm our Governments strong commitment to this road. I will be meeting senior officials from Kildare County Council later today to discuss the next steps that they must make in the process.”

Deputy Heydon stated “The need for a ring road around Athy has been fought for and talked about for over 40 years.  It has been a number 1 priority for me since I was first elected in 2011.  Approval of planning permission by An Bord Pleanala for the Southern Distributor Route on the 12th October 2017, has now brought us to a stage that this project has never reached before.  The final piece in this lengthy journey is the funding to completion of the road project by the current Government.  I am delighted that Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has been able to make that commitment in Athy today.”

“I fought for inclusion of funding for this vital project in the Capital Plan of 2014 when the current Taoiseach was Minister for Transport.  That prioritization of this critical project which had been stalled during boom years, allowed Kildare County Council to take the project off the shelf and prepare a planning application for An Bord Pleanala.

“Now that planning permission has been secured Kildare County Council must move to the next phase of development.  While only a small proportion of the €34m total cost of the road project was needed to get through planning, the next phases from site works to compulsory purchase orders and beyond will require significantly more funds which makes todays commitment all the more timely. Preparation of the contract documents and a detailed design is the next stage.

“Both the Taoiseach and Finance Minister Pascal Donohoe, as former Ministers for Transport are acutely aware of the vital need for this infrastructure for the town of Athy from my discussions and representations to them over the years.

“Working closely with Transport Minister Shane Ross I have made him aware of the legacy of this road project and the critical need for its development now. He has always given me his time to listen to my representations on this project. “

“I have always believed that this road could have a really positive impact on the town of Athy, its residents and businesses, and I am pleased to have played my part in its progression to date.  I will not rest however until it is constructed, completed and providing the town of Athy with a relief road that it deserves.

“The commitment from Taoiseach Leo Varadkar today to the construction of the Athy Southern Distributor road is another vital step on the way to seeing a new ring road for the town of Athy become a reality.”